How CMOs become more effective internally

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

17 May 2011

It’s actually not that different from a branding process

For the most part, those in marketing get many things wrong, and it usually starts with chief marketing officers (CMOs) having trouble getting initiatives through the organization. For example, many of them (although, not all) believe the answer to their problems is to level the playing field, so to speak, by duplicating messages of the competition. In addition, too many of them take an inside-out view, marketing product benefits rather than looking at the landscape from the point of view of the target audience.

However, I do have to give the Chief Marketing Officer Council some credit in its recent report titled, “Renovate to Innovate: Building Performance-Driven Marketing Organizations.”

“The objective of brand and marketing is to steal market share. The success can be read in the bottom line.”



It is certainly an inside-baseball kind of report, basically advising CMOs on how to get their marketing initiatives through the internal cultures of their own companies.

Interestingly, however, the three main elements are a bit related to the brand process (and we at Stealing Share endorse). The first: A strong mandate and support from the CEO.

For CEOs who believe that brand (and marketing) is not the province of their office, they should think again. Brand is about the process of preference generating business, which is why it is smart that the CEO is the one who usually contacts us when inquiring about becoming a potential client.

More importantly, it is a decisive CEO who determines the success of a brand. A faltering brand usually means an indecisive CEO.

The second element of the report is having supporting relationships with the entire C suite, which is key to having any important initiative succeed.

It was the third element that interested me most: Having early evidence that marketing is working, especially in terms of stealing market share. That is true, to a point, and it is in this measurement where CMOs often get things wrong.

Yes, the objective of brand and marketing is to steal market share. The success can be read in the bottom line. But it is a slow build because it takes time to imbed a brand in the mindset of target audience. In fact, a quick success may mean you are trendy. A lowering of price can have a quick impact, but it’s dangerous in the long run.

Marketers also can fall into the trap of measuring a marketing initiative’s success by awareness. That’s not it at all because awareness does not mean it is preferred. We may have all seen and can even recite the State Farm commercials where a representative appears once you say, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!” But that does mean we switch insurance providers. (We may even be more aware of what annoys us.)

It must be measured in business success and marketers can prove it by repeating the study they used to build the brand later to measure the effectiveness of the brand in terms of meaning, preference and considered set. (We usually recommend doing the follow-up study 18 months after launch.)

But I will give the CMOs some credit. At least this report understands that marketing – and, especially, brand – does not exist in a vacuum.

See more posts in the following related categories: Branding CMOs Marketing


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